Employees march foiled, JCC calls for more protests

Srinagar: The police on Thursday detained a number of government employees when they tried to stage a protest demonstration to press for their demands at Gandhi Nagar in Jammu.

Reports said that hundreds of employees tried to assemble at Jammu Press Club, however, large contingent of police deployed in and around JPC foiled the march of Joint Consultative Committee (JCC). The employees gathered at different places like City Chowk, Vikran Chowk and Jewel Chowk, however, police used water cannons and charged them with canes that resulted in chaos on Jammu streets.

Scores of employees sustained injuries. More than 200 employees including Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) chairman Abdul Qayoom Wani were detained and put behind bars at police lines.

The JCC had called for protest at Jammu to press for their demands including enhancement of retirement age from 58 to 60 years, regularization of daily wagers and consolidated workers.

Eyewitnesses said that as soon as employees assembled at Gandhi Nagar and started a protest, large number of police personnel intercepted them and did not allow them to proceed. “However, the employees did not relent and continued with their protest. The large number of police personnel bundled scores of employees in police vehicles and took them to different police stations. The police action created panic and traffic movement was also affected for quite some time,” eye witness said.

Meanwhile senior JCC leader Abdul Qayoom Wani said that government’s confrontation with the employees would only yield destructive results. “Our demands are genuine and the government acknowledged the same many a times. We are striving for our demands in a democratic way and we will never quit.” He also warned the government that if government will continue with this kind of attitude “we will go for an indefinite strike and we also will not hesitate from stopping essential services.”

The JCC issued a fresh protest calendar calling for five-day protest demonstrations commencing Jan 31. Wani appealed the employees to stage one hour sit-in in front of chief minister Omar Abdullah’s residence at Wazarat Road in Jammu on January 31.

He called for gherao of legislative assembly complex in Jammu on February 14. He appealed employees to go for pen down strike on February 15. “And if our demands are not met and a concrete decision is not taken by the government till February 15, on February 16 the JCC will decide about future course of action which may include an option to go for indefinite strike,” Wani told KNS on phone form Jammu.

Chief Secretary Mohammad Iqbal Khandey said the government has already constituted a cabinet subcommittee to deal with the matter and the committee will be better to talk on the issue.

Taj Mohi-u-Din, minister for PHE and member of the cabinet subcommittee on employees demands said, “I will tell employee leadership to exhibit patience because we have already met their demands. As far as the pay anomaly is concerned, the committee on this demand is preparing its report and once we receive it, a decision on the same will be taken appropriately.  Regarding regularization of daily wagers, let me tell you that it is the employees who have to submit the records and let them furnish the record to the government for further necessary action.” 

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